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Purpose of review

Positive psychiatry shifts the focus of geriatric mental healthcare beyond studying disorders and psychopathology to studying factors that contribute to mental well-being and successful aging. An increasing number of interventional studies are using treatments that target modifiable positive psychosocial characteristics (PPCs) and study their impact on mental health. Here we provide an overview of the literature on positive psychiatry interventions using illustrative examples of interventions targeting social connectedness, meaning in life, wisdom, and resilience.

Recent findings

There is growing evidence that PPCs are modifiable constructs that may be associated with improved well-being, physical health, and mental health outcomes.


The preliminary evidence summarized in this narrative review indicates that positive psychiatry interventions targeting social connectedness, meaning in life, wisdom, and resilience can improve overall well-being and other positive health outcomes amongst older adults. The effect sizes of these interventions reported in RCTs and meta-analyses are typically small to medium, but occasionally large effect sizes are also reported. Current literature is restricted by heterogeneous methodology, limiting clinicians' abilities to extrapolate these principles of positive psychiatry into everyday practice. With the expanding body of evidence, positive psychiatry may have the potential to transform the landscape of geriatric mental health.

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